Two Cabernet Standouts of the Year

Sometimes it's best to keep things simple: here are two Cabernet standouts of the year. Both are selections for our Northwest Big Reds wine club and we are confident that both are going to knock your Cab-loving socks off. It's that simple.

$37.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($41.95 regular)

My August trip to Walla Walla included one or two unexpected delights; right at the top was Valdemar Estates. A unique Walla Walla winery in several ways–from the full restaurant on site to the side-by-side complement of Washington and Spanish wines available, made by the same family.

My favorite of their Washington wines was this: Entre Nosotros Red Mountain 2018. Richly decadent, with expressive aromatics, it bursts with black cherry cream and cassis. Accents of warm earth, vanilla bean, and pipe tobacco round out the show. Flashy enough to drink on its own, balanced enough to enjoy with whatever you like to eat alongside your full-bodied reds. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, 5% Petit Verdot.

$39.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($44.95 regular)

Us: This is what I think of when I think of Cabernet. All the hallmarks, all the trademarks done masterfully. The notes below give a great range of aroma, flavor, and texture but where I differ from these two reviewers I respect: 1) this is absolutely the best Andrew Januik Stone Cairn and 2) if I were assigning scores based on all the Washington Cabs I've tasted this year, my score for this would be a couple notches higher. An all-star that's priced like a bench-player, this is a deal we should all jump on.

93+ points Jeb Dunnuck: "The 2018 Stone Cairn checks in as 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot that was brought up in 50% new French oak. This deep ruby/purple-hued beauty gives up a great bouquet of crème de cassis, spicy oak, chocolate, and flowers. Beautifully balanced and medium to full-bodied, with both richness and elegance, it ranks with the finest examples of this cuvée I've tasted. If it was from Napa, it would be three times the cost. Drink bottles over the coming 10-12 years, if not longer."

94 points Owen Bargreen (Decanter, Vinous): "The 2018 ‘Stone Cairn’ by Andrew Januik is quite possibly the finest wine I have tasted from this talented young winemaker. The wine is dense and chewy now at the three year mark. The nose has really great range from tar and pipe tobacco to blueberry compote, mocha and loganberry preserves. The wine shows incredible decadence and a seamless texture. Once on the mouth this effortlessly glides across the mid-palate. This is big but has a great sense of elegance, as this beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon will cellar well for another decade or more. Drink 2021-2034."